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When A Grab for Revenue Looks Like Conspiracy November 14, 2019

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.
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As I’ve explained on several occasions, I don’t believe in conspiracies, despite their current popularity.  They simply go against rational thought.  Ten thousand people cannot possibly keep a secret about Roswell, and Area 51.  Kennedy was killed by a single deranged gunman, not a cabal of the Russians and the CIA (aside: I love the cartoon from the early 1990s, where two Kennedy assassination researchers were examining photos of November 22, 1963 – “Look!  There behind the grassy knoll.  It’s . . . Bill Clinton!”).

My thesis is that the only way that three people can keep a secret is if two are dead, and that logic is impossible to argue against.

So I generally believe in what those in positions of authority say about controversial events.  It’s simply too hard to make up a credible alternative.

Yet a surprising number of people believe in aliens, a Kennedy conspiracy, or, well, that vaccines are deadly (or at least deadlier than no vaccines).  In some of these conspiracy issues, there are reasonable questions that science doesn’t have definitive answers for, but that is the nature of science.  Science is rarely definitive, and allows for alternative theories backed with rigorous science.

But not with vaccines.  The only anti-vaccine study that even pretended to be scientific was immediately discredited and was eventually withdrawn from the medical literature.  Yet that doesn’t stop people from referring to it ad nauseum.  Other cited studies are bogus, unrefereed, or made up, and all refer back to that original, discredited study.

Why was it discredited?  It was performed by a group paid by lawyers suing vaccination manufacturers.  The sample selection was biased toward those children already diagnosed with autism, whether or not they had vaccines.  Fast-forward thirty years, and no unbiased study has found a link between vaccinations and autism or other childhood afflictions.

Let me repeat.  No unbiased study has found a link between vaccinations and autism or other childhood afflictions.

Yet Google, Twitter, and Facebook are still accepting money from anti-vaxxers for advertisements that cite this, as well as bogus research on the health detriments of vaccination.  Google and Twitter claim that they don’t, although the above link demonstrates conclusively that they do.  Facebook, the money machine that it is, proudly accepts such advertising, although it claims to place such advertising lower in its priority list (whatever that means).

Folks, wise up.  Google, Twitter, and Facebook aren’t here to let you search for information, share your thoughts, or keep in touch with people you don’t even remember.  They are here to help sell you stuff.  And if they have to bend the bounds of logic to do so, well, let the buyer beware.

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